Name: Tilly Blackwood
Company: Audition Doctor
1. What is your business?
Put simply, i am a teacher and mentor to people who want to act. I work with students who wish to go to drama school, professional actors who wish to develop their skills or identify problems and those in the corporate world who need to work on their presentational skills.
2. How do you make your business work?
I have been in business for a relatively short period of time- one year, and i am learning all the time; quite literally in some cases, as i had to put myself through a computer course. What i would say as a result of this very steep learning curve, is that unless you have a concrete belief in what you’re selling, then you’re scuppered. After a year’s experience as Audition Doctor, my confidence has only grown; 80% of my drama school applicants, who in some cases were applying for the third time, will be beginning their training in September at accredited drama schools, i have repeat appointments with professional actors and i teach regularly at the highly respected Actors Centre. These endorsements serve only to make me more driven and i hope that this determination and confidence in my teaching abilities will make Audition Doctor a success.
3. What’s the secret to your success?
I think it’s a little early in the day to infer that I’ve achieved anything like the success that i think Audition Doctor deserves; it is still very much a work in progress. However, i hope that my dogged determination will ensure that real success is absolutely achievable and soon.
4. How does someone get into this field of work?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally i came to teaching initially by necessity. I have been a successful working actress for over twenty years, but have recently found it deeply frustrating that during the inevitable gaps between jobs, i wasn’t achieving. I have a passion for this industry and a wealth of experience to share and so i decided to approach The Actors Centre to see if they would be interested in employing me on any basis. They welcomed me with open arms and have been a continued support to me in my mentoring endeavours ever since. Subsequently i have also set up Audition Doctor and have my own website, www.auditiondoctor.co.uk.
5. What inspired you to set up your own business?
My work at The Actors Centre was my chief inspiration to set up Audition Doctor. I enjoyed the work so much and found that the students wanted to see me on a more regular basis, chiefly in order to diagnose problems that were holding them back. I think it was this diagnostic approach to my students that inspired the name Audition Doctor. I knew through my experience at The Actors Centre that there was a demand for this kind of one to one tutoring for actors of all levels of ability and experience and i began to seek out a way of supplying it.
6. Under the current economic climate, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing business at the moment?
Again, i think it would be foolish of me to attempt any kind of analysis of a world that i am still relatively new to. However, i know only too well how intimidating it is, especially for small businesses, in this current climate with regards to just keeping going sometimes. Banks are still not overly keen to lend money to a business that is still in it’s infancy and i have basically put all of my overdraft into setting up Audition Doctor. The real challenge is just to keep focused and keep the faith that all the hard work will pay off one day.
7. Do you have any tips for people setting up their own business?
There is no point in trying to sell something that no one wants: be sure that there is a need for your product. I have also sought out help from mentors during the ongoing process of setting up Audition Doctor, in particular Grant Brookes, who designed the Audition Doctor website and who has provided invaluable help in deciding upon a marketing strategy. His support is priceless and ongoing.
8. How do you hope The Barnes Business Club will help your business?
I am always open to any advice or input that I’m given and i hope that it will inspire me further and perhaps give me ideas about developing Audition Doctor that i had not yet thought of.
9. If anyone reading this needs to find out more about your business, how do they get in touch?
I would invite anyone who’s interested to go to my website. www.auditiondoctor.co.uk.